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Steady light-to-moderate snow added up to as much as 3 to 5 inches of accumulation in parts of the Northland on Monday, causing difficult driving conditions in the region. Travel was tough on the hills of central Duluth during the day, and numerous spinouts and vehicles in ditches were reported across the region. The Duluth school district canceled after-school activities on Monday because of concerns about road conditions getting worse through the afternoon.
Musher Ryan Redington and his team were the first to reach the Grand Portage checkpoint of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, musher Martha Schouweiler made it three wins in a row in a close Beargrease mid-distance race. In the marathon, Redington, an Iditarod veteran from Wasilla, Alaska, was the first musher to reach Grand Portage -- 183 miles into the 373-mile race -- at 1:02 p.m., according to tracking on the race website. Redington was the only musher to have reached Grand Portage as of 1:45 p.m.
Musher Ryan Redington and his team remained in the lead of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on Monday morning. Meanwhile, musher Martha Schouweiler made it three wins in a row in a close Beargrease mid-distance race.
A winter weather advisory has been issued for most of the Northland for Monday, as a clipper system is forecast to drop 3 to 5 inches of snow across the region. "The snow will begin to move into north-central Minnesota before dawn, then ramp up and spread east into the rest of Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin later in the morning," the National Weather Service reported.
A winter weather advisory has been issued for all of the Northland through Saturday morning, for a mix of rain and snow that may cause difficult driving conditions overnight. The advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday. The National Weather Service reported that up to a tenth of an inch of ice and 1 to 2 inches of snow are possible in the advisory area. Travel conditions are expected to deteriorate overnight, the weather service said.
Duluth reached a record high temperature on Thursday, topping out at 45 degrees as a January thaw continues in the Northland. A mix of rain and freezing rain is expected to start overnight in parts of the region and continue Friday and Saturday. The previous record high for Duluth for Jan. 19 was 44 degrees, set in 1900. The average high for the date is 19, the National Weather Service reported. The low Thursday morning was 31 degrees — about 30 degrees above normal for this time of year.
Temperatures dropped into the 40s below zero in parts of the Northland on Friday morning, with wind chills as low as 55 below. The most frigid spot, by air temperature, was perennial cold contender Embarrass at 42 below zero, the National Weather Service reported. Effie and Cotton reported 41 below zero, with 40 below at Togo and Ash Lake. International Falls reported a low of 39 below zero. The official low at the Duluth International Airport was 21 below zero.
The National Weather Service has expanded its winter weather advisories to include the Twin Ports and Iron Range this afternoon, as steady snow continues across much of the Northland. A winter weather advisory now is in effect for St. Louis, Carlton, Douglas, Pine, Burnett and Washburn counties until 5 p.m., with an additional 1 to 3 inches of snow expected during the afternoon. That will bring snow totals to 3 to 6 inches across the area.
With temperatures forecast to remain below zero Thursday — with wind chills in the 20s and 30s below zero — several outdoor activity venues in the Northland will be closed. Spirit Mountain ski area in Duluth will be closed Thursday because of the cold; the ski area also was closed Wednesday, but officials said they hope to reopen Friday.
The first winter storm of 2017 dropped more than 10 inches of snow on parts of the Northland from late Sunday through Tuesday, with arctic air streaming into the region in its wake. The National Weather Service in Duluth relayed spotter reports of 10.3 inches of snow near Indus in Koochiching County, 10.1 inches at Silver Bay and 10 inches near Elbow Lake in northern St. Louis County. A few schools in the region closed or delayed the start of classes on Tuesday morning.